The Object and Influence of Homoeopathic Medical Societies. — Homoeopathic Medical Societies are formed in order to accomplish by association what cannot be effected by individual effort, in increasing the usefulness and extending the boundaries of Medical Science.
The members of these societies by assembling and consulting on all subjects related to the profession, and by interchanging the results of their experience, become prepared to render their practice more effectual, and successful in alleviating suffering.
The influence of such organizations is generally very great If they decline because the profession do not efficiently sustain them, the interests of Homoeopathy must suffer. They are an index in a great degree of the prevalence, celebrity and success of the truths for the advancement of which they are established.
The Homoeopathist, who, although surrounded by patrons and friends, yet is so situated as to be excluded from the company of his professional brethren, feels but little general interest for or against the theory and practice he is employing. But this isolation should not deprive him of the assistance and co-operation of other members of the profession. It is a fixed law that progress is most promoted by a communication of the fruits of experience. He should therefore come forth from his retirement, and contribute his thoughts for the general good. His experience may suggest subjects of the greatest importance, his practice may be of benefit to all, and on the contrary his gain may be a harvest of an hundred fold.
While Homoeopathic Societies extend their researches over the whole field of medical science, it is their special object to improve the Materia Medica. Prominent among the means to attain this important end, is the Proving of Drugs. Before a substance is used as a remedy, its nature, properties and effects must be fully ascertained and clearly defined. At present there is a great necessity for an
Enlargement of the number of Drug Provers. Heretofore but little thought has been given to this essential work. As a general thing physicians have relied too much upon the authority of others, never themselves testing the powers of the remedies they employed. But at the present time this department is receiving more attention and care. Yet without doubt, even now, not more than one in twenty is engaged in this important labor. Hence, it is
The part of every Physician to Prove Drugs upon his own person. It is obviously the office of every homoeopathic practitioner to engage in this truly profitable and enduring labor. In order to employ his remedies with success, he must possess an accurate knowledge of all their powers and effects. And in no way can he acquire a comprehensive understanding of them, as well as by first proving them upon himself. The knowledge will be gained thus most easily and permanently, and will be most familiar and reliable in its application. Let not, however, proving be confined to common remedies; but let experiment carry research into new fields. Let the physician ascertain the effects of new drugs upon his own system, and without doubt remedies of great value will be discovered. Upon this point a remark of Dr. Wm. E. Payne is appropriate, and its quotation therefore will net be considered irrelevant:
“The prover would therefore respectfully, but earnestly solicit the co-operation of those of his professional brethren, who are desirous of making the only enduring contributions that can be made to the medical profession. The proving and re-proving of drugs, until their whole therapeutic powers are understood, is a work devolving upon the medical profession; and a participation in this work, is a duty incumbent upon every member; and no-one who has entered the profession, can be in the faithful discharge of the responsibilities thus voluntarily assumed, until he has submitted himself to the self-sacrificing work of proving drugs upon his own person. Such a labor is truly self-sacrificing; but when faithfully performed, it will subserve the cause of suffering humanity in all coming, time; and he who shrinks from it, is unworthy the honors of his Alma Mater, and toe confidence of those who submit their lives to his imperfectly cultivated instrumentality.”*[Vide AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW, Vol II, p. 83.]
In order that the results and discoveries of each individual physician may become useful to other members of the profession, some means must be devised by which they can be brought together and their results communicated. such a medium may be found in.
County Medical Societies. The proving of a drug by a single person is insufficient to establish its character. In order to ascertain its true therapeutic powers the observations of many individuals must be compared. Only when the results are contrasted, verified and reduced to a system can its power and worth as a remedy be determined or affirmed. Medical societies are peculiarly adapted for this work. Yet at the present time there are but few agencies of this kind which engage the co-operation of our homoeopathic physicians. The American Prover's Union, and the American Institute, assisted by comparatively a small number of observers, have accomplished highly valuable results: and many others still can achieve successes equally important. For these purposes and to obtain these ends, let a medical society be formed in each of the counties where none now exists. Small associations generally accomplish more in the aggregate than large, because their members are required to put forth greater exertion, and to make greater sacrifices than when there are many to perform the labor. If any motive can have influence surely such an one should prove a powerful incentive to personal effort. During the last ten years, as our Journals testify, many imperfectly proved remedies have been presented to the profession: if these trials should now be increased and verified by a larger number of observers, the results would be of far greater value.
One object of a State Medical Society. Prudence forbids the public expression of some of the reasons in favor of forming at an early day a State Medical Society; but among the others and perhaps not least, is the necessity of a central and controlling organization which shall secure by means of the county societies the co-operation of all the members of the profession in the state, who are willing to assist by their influence and example in the department of drug proving. There is now evidence of progress, yet there can be but little permanent advancement until a combination of effort shall be secured upon fewer drugs. If a larger number of physicians in the state can be induced to engage in this work, or if all who are at the present time thus employed, will unite, by this means of co-operation, in developing the pathogenesis of one remedy at a time, complete provings will result. Thus uniformity and concert of action, and thorough and speedy discovery of the therapeutic powers of drugs will be attained; and that which now requires eight or ten years to perform, will be accomplished just as well in one or two. A State Society being a representative body would be eminently fitted to give direction, uniformity and efficiency to this most important work.
How it is to be established. At the last meeting of the State Society, in May, 1857, it was discovered that its organization had not been effected, as the statute required, and therefore all its proceedings were informal. The la recognizes county societies as the foundation on which the State organization must be formed, by granting them the privilege of sending as many delegates as there are members of Assembly. The State Society, however, has power to increase the number of permanent members by electing as many as there are members of the Senate.
There are at the present time seven County Homoeopathic Medical Societies. They are Livingston, Onondaga, Oneida including Herkimer, Saratoga including Washington, Renssalear, New York and Kings. These are entitled to a representation of forty-two members, a number sufficient to organize immediately a State Medical Society.
The members, talent and influence of the Homoeopathists in the State clearly indicate that the time has fully come for establishing such an association upon a permanent basis. The welfare of our patrons, and the interests of Homoeopathy should stimulate the profession to put forth every effort which will favor and promote our cause.
If the proposed plan be considered premature or impracticable, then let some other method be soon adopted which shall bring about the same desirable result. At least let the county societies already established institute a correspondence, which shall secure uniformity in this department, and thus form a system which, with the addition of other societies, shall become increasingly instrumental in developing the true law of therapeutics discovered by Hahnemann.
“It would seem, however, that with the increase of our numbers, and our social strength, our action and influence might be more effectually concentrated and combined, both for the benefit of the public and the promotion of Homoeopathy. Whether the sentiment of the homoeopathic profession is quite ripe for a decided move in that direction I do not know. I have felt a little doubtful of it, but the only way of testing the matter is for somebody to take the initiative step. That can be done as effectually by your Society, as any other — perhaps better, and I am very glad you propose to set the ball in motion.
“The plan of organization should be the same, or nearly so, as the Old School Society — a representative body, and should be made as simple, and expressed as briefly as possible. Simultaneously with this movement the teal of the brethren throughout the State should be stirred up to form County Societies, and appoint delegates, so as to be ready to organize as soon as opportunity shall occur. Let those Societies already formed appoint Delegates, and a time and place for meeting.
“Such a course would probably stimulate the formation of Societies in Counties where they do not yet exist, which would add their delegates to the number, and thereby strengthen the influence which such an association could not fail to exert if vigorously pushed.”
“I would suggest the formation of as many county societies as practicable this year, and a State Society the next. The necessity of the general association will be more urgent and obvious in proportion to the number of elementary ones; by this mode of proceeding, the State Society will not be made for the county societies, but by them; each of the latter will have a little time to rest from legislative labors, which are generally irksome to scientific men, as the making and mending of societies interferes with their favorite pursuits. These are reasons for the postponement of the State Society for another year, or at least until the elements are more generally created.
“The advantages of County and State medical associations are well stated in your paper. It is an excellent feature of those contemplated that they are designed to work, and that their most important duties are to relate to provings. If a number of homoeopathic physicians in any county take pleasure in improving the Materia Medica in this way, and actually commence giving a portion of their time to this duty, they can form a society which will probably have the requisite vitality. This living principle must depend more upon the spontaneous tendency of the members than on the external pressure of the rules of the body. A majority might become provers with advantage to themselves and the cause; but it is not to be expected that such a number will engage in the undertaking, still less that they will persevere. Organization may do something to excite the requisite sentiment as well as to regulate the action it is worthy of trial.
“Several such societies for the advancement of the materia medica can be formed in Central New York, and I trust in other parts of the State, especially if you can convince medical men that they are not required to endanger permanent injury of their health by crude preparations and large doses. HAHNEMANN, after much experience in proving, recommends in his Organon, the thirtieth dilution as the best for this purpose. There are some idiosyncrasies which appear to be proof against certain drugs, at least in the tincture and lower dilutions. For example: — In the Autumn of 1858, an able pharmaceutist, at my request, sent to a member of the Bureau two drachms of the tincture of Rumex, and as much of the 3d and 12th potencies in solution. Some months afterward this prover wrote to me: “I have proved the Rumex until the stock you sent me is nearly exhausted. I have tried it in small and large doses, but I am unable to furnish any symptoms which I can conscientiously communicate as legitimate effects of the drug.”*[Dr. J. gives this extract from the letter since found, instead of the abstract contained in his own, and given from memory.] Subsequent events give this incident some value to societies about to commence provings.
“The activity in the right direction, of a sufficient number of county societies would afford the best pledge of the vitality and permanence of a State Society subsequently formed. I have given what appears to me to be the best order for the development of a healthy and durable activity. Perhaps the whole could be accomplished in a few months; if so, all the better. You are surrounded by colleagues who will heartily co-operate. Whatever order you adopt, you will have my best wishes for the success of your laudable undertaking.”
Act of Incorporation relative to the Formation of Homoeopathic County Medical Societies. — An Act to Incorporate Homoeopathic Medical Societies. (Vide Laws of New York, Session of 1857, Vol. I., Page 790, Chapter 384.)
Sec. 1. It shall be lawful for Homoeopathic Physicians, in each of the counties of this State, to meet together on the first Tuesday of May next, at the place where the County Courts are appointed to be held in their respective counties, and organize County Homoeopathic Medical Societies, in the same manner as provided in an act entitled “An act to incorporate Medical Societies for the purpose of regulating the practice of Physic and Surgery in this State,” passed April 10, 1813. And whenever a Society be organized as aforesaid, in either of the said counties, it shall be known by the name of the Homoeopathic Medical Society of the county in which it shall be founded, and shall have all the powers, rights and privileges, and be subject to all the duties and responsibilities, now by law given to or imposed upon a County Medical Society, organized under the act aforesaid.
Sec. 2. If the said physicians shall not meet and organize themselves at such time and place as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for them to meet at such other time as a majority of them shall think proper, and their proceedings shall be as valid as if such meeting had been held at the time before specified.
“And be it farther enacted, that if there should not be a sufficient number of physicians and surgeons in any of the counties of this State to form themselves into a Medical Society agreeably to this act, it shall be lawful for such physicians and surgeons to associate with the physicians and surgeons of an adjoining county for the purposes hereby contemplated, ”Section 20, Revised Statutes Vol. 2, page 651.
See also the “Act” which “Regulates the practice of Physic and Surgery,” Revised Statutes, Vol. 2, Pages 646 — 52, 1859, for information in respect to the formation of County and State Medical Societies.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 04, 1860, pages 177-181
|State Homoeopathic Medical Society - a paper showing the importance of organizing a “state Homoeopathic Medical Society; and establishing an extensive and uniform system of Drug Proving.” Read before the “oneida County Homoeopathic Medical Society,” December 6, 1859.
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